Parting thoughts, we think, on Steve Spurrier

Steve SpurrierNot that the Ol’ Ball Coach needs any confirmation from yours truly but do you know how I know Steve Spurrier was a great coach?  Because everybody I knew that wasn’t a Florida Gator fan absolutely despised the guy.

Ask any Seminole, Bulldog, Volunteer or anyone with any allegiance to a school that Spurrier once scored 50 on and they’ll confirm that story with vigor.

Steve Spurrier got (back) to Gainesville in 1990.  As a student who arrived at the University of Florida only two years earlier, we had heard the name before.  Football was big in town.  Spurrier was about to make it bigger.

Anyone who was enrolled in Florida at the time witnessed a changing of the SEC guard.  Goodbye ground and pound, the Fun and Gun had arrived.  Almost instantly, Spurrier put Florida football on the map.  SEC championships became as commonplace as SEC losses were rare.  Florida-Florida State replaced FSU-Miami as the most watched rivalry in the state, if not the nation.  Florida-Tennessee was put on the map and Florida-Georgia fell of it because Spurrier’s Gators lost to them only once in twelve tries.

Overall at Florida, he went 122-27-1.

Steve Spurrier was a visor-throwing brat when things didn’t go his way.  There was no two ways about it.  He definitely had a little John McEnroe in him.  But, like McEnroe, he won.

Spurrier was also a great soundbite, the mouth that roared.

When asked about an Auburn library burning to the ground, he said the real tragedy was that not all the books had been colored yet.  When asked about Peyton Manning returning to Tennessee for his senior season, he quipped that the kid really must like playing in the Citrus Bowl.  And then, of course, there was Free Shoes University.

Only Spurrier, a coach most aptly named.  If you’re going to get away with jabs like that these days, you better win.  And Spurrier did just that no matter where he went.

The guy won an ACC Championship at Duke.  He took South Carolina to the SEC Championship game.  He nicknamed Ben Hill Griffin Stadium the Swamp.

Upon his recent “resigning” from South Carolina, former players came out of the woodwork to pay their respects.  From Danny Weurffel to Jesse Palmer to Kevin Carter to Marcus Lattimore to Jadeveon Clowney, all had nothing but the kindest things to say about a man who demanded greatness out of them and usually got it.

Spurrier and lattimoreEveryone who ran into Spurrier somewhere along the way has a story to tell.  Mike Bianchi once wrote of the night he shared a hotel room with Spurrier and why, despite having more national championships (but not more conference championships), Urban Meyer could never surpass Spurrier’s legacy in Gainesville.

When you boil down the true essence of coaching, the number one goal is not how many games you’ve won but how many lives you’ve impacted.  Like him or not, Steve Spurrier did both.

And like it or not, college football will be slightly less entertaining without him.

11 thoughts on “Parting thoughts, we think, on Steve Spurrier

  1. The ‘ol Ball Coach will be sorely missed. He was a master recruiter, leader and instigator. I hope younger fans go back and check out/look at his complete coaching career. He helped elevate college football to the heights it enjoys now. Every time he was near a microphone I wanted to hear what he had to say. Intimidated by no one…and he imitated no one.

  2. Steve Spurrier was a terrific leader. He recruited well and was a great innovative tactician. The fact that he wasn’t well liked was media hyped. He was clearly ahead of his contemporaries.

  3. Nice tribute, Rev.

    As a SCar man, I appreciate SOS taking us from the cellar to the penthouse. I never thought we would be a top-10 team. Let alone actual contenders. Most other schools have some kind of history of when they were winners. We never had that until the HBC showed us how… he is our history.

    It would have been nice if he could have went out on top, but I’m glad he got the chance to leave on his own terms… instead of being forced out.

    He was a remarkable man, and a great coach. Happy trails to the Gunslinger of the sidelines!

  4. All qualities you want in a coach, Burnsy.

    I know he rubbed a lot of people the wrong way but ultimately you want the people in that locker room going to battle for you. That’s first and foremost. He got that and then some.

  5. Jimmy…

    My understanding was that he hated the grind of recruiting.

    I guess once you’ve established that sort of reputation, ultimately the top players come to you.

  6. Han…

    I went to the first game in Columbia that Spurrier coached against us.

    He beat Meyer.

    There were shirts everywhere that said “Hey, Florida” on the front and “Missing something?” on the back.

    After everything he did for Florida, it was hard not to root for him at SC. And the fact that he still holds his alma mater so dear goes to show what the school meant to him.

    Heck, he was giving preseason advice to McElwain. That’s good advice if you can get it.

  7. Spurriers reward?

    A T-shirt that reads,

    I made Gainsville matter and all I got was a lousy Party Down South knockoff tv show

    -“not all the books had been colored yet”
    LMAO

  8. Hey SC, if you get a chance in the future throw us some musings on why it is that folks that never went a school like FL, AL, OSU, etc are the fanatics while those who actually attended have reasonable expectations even as they root for their team. Sportsattitude could also speak to the same thing with pro sports.

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